Toronto’s new Holocaust museum is receiving $2.5 million from Ottawa

Toronto Holocaust Museum (Credit: Lila Sarick)

The $2.5-million promised in the federal budget for Toronto’s new Holocaust centre was formally announced by Marco Mendicino, minister of public safety, and MP Ya’ara Saks at a news conference on June 10.

Mendocino, who made the announcement on behalf of Minister of Canadian Heritage Pablo Rodriguez, began by discussing rising antisemitism and the dissemination of hate, especially online.

“In order to fight this hate and xenophobia it is essential to know but also to fully understand the past. We need a space to reflect on the atrocities of the Holocaust and to honour the millions of victims, survivors and their families,” Mendocino said at the Lipa Green Centre, part of the rebuilt Jewish community centre complex where the new Holocaust centre will be located.

“We need to keep alive the memory of those who senselessly lost their lives during the Holocaust. And it is imperative that we continue to combat historical distortions and denial related to its horrors.”

About $2 million of the funding from the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund will go toward the creation of new permanent exhibit and programming spaces. The rest of the money, from the Museums Assistance Program, will be earmarked for new bilingual, digital content, including immersive short films and interactive Holocaust survivor testimony.

The 10,000-square-foot museum is scheduled to open in spring 2023. The entire project is expected to cost around $27.5 million and the lead donor, the Azrieli Foundation, has pledged $12 million for the centre.

The announcement was welcomed by leaders of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, who attended the press conference.

“At a time when our survivor community is sadly diminishing with each year, reimagining how we as a community will teach the lessons of the Holocaust is crucially important not just to the Jewish community, but to Canadian society as a whole. This is precisely what the new museum is going to do,” said Adam Minsky, CEO of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.

The funding for Toronto’s new Holocaust Centre was part of a federal budget delivered in April, that allocated over $70 million to Holocaust education as well as projects combatting antisemitism.

Montreal’s new Holocaust museum, which is being built on a site downtown, received $20 million. Money was also allocated, although the budget did not specify an amount, to a major redevelopment of Vancouver’s Jewish Community Centre, which will include renovations to the city’s Holocaust museum.